Photograph: João Paulo,  © Turismo de PortugalPhotograph: Venerável Ordem de S. Francisco, Porto,  © Venerável Ordem de S. Francisco, PortoPhotograph: Fernando Noronha,  © Venerável Ordem de S. Francisco, PortoPhotograph: João Paulo,  © Turismo de PortugalPhotograph: Venerável Ordem de S. Francisco, Porto,  © Venerável Ordem de S. Francisco, Porto

Name of Monument:

Church of St. Francis, Oporto

Also known as:

Igreja Monumento de São Francisco, Oporto


Parish of St. Nicolau, Oporto, Portugal

Contact DetailsChurch of St. Francis, Oporto
Igreja Monumento de São Francisco
Rua do Infante D. Henrique
4050-297 Porto
T : +351 22 206 2100
F : +351 22 200 9412
E :
Venerável Ordem Terceira de São Francisco  (Responsible Institution)


13th–14th centuries (architecture); 17th–18th centuries (gilded carved decoration)


Architectectural design: Francisco do Couto e Azevedo [n.d.]; sculptors: António Gomes [n.d.]; Filipe da Silva (active 1718–?); woodcarvers: Luís Pereira da Costa (active 1724–?), Manuel Carneiro Adão (active 1719–?), Manuel Pereira da Costa Noronha (active 1750–1751), Manuel da Costa Andrade (active 1740–1743), Francisco Pereira Campanhã (active 1764–?)

Denomination / Type of monument:

Religious architecture, church


Order of St. Francis, the third order of the St. Francis Brotherhood from Oporto


Installation of the altarpieces and the carving in general began in the 17th century and lasted until the end of the 18th. The presence of several period altarpieces and carving, mostly of the Baroque style from the first half of the 18th-century culminate in a harmonious visual impact. This variety was caused by an increase of orders because Oporto had a vibrant and wealthy bourgeoisie, organized in several brotherhoods, willing to finance art works in this period. The Church of St Francis stands nowadays as a museum of northern carving. In the 19th century with the extinction of the religious orders and after a violent fire in 1833, right after the siege of Oporto, the convent started to decline, was burnt down and the church was used for instance as a Customs warehouse. The Church of St. Francis was classified as a National Monument in 1910, being now part of the Historic Centre of Oporto. It became an Unesco World Heritage in 1996 .


A Gothic mendicant church with three aisles, covered with gilded carving and Baroque imagery. In the main body of the church the gradual installation of various altars and retables culminate in blanketing it entirely and changing it completely, giving it a totally Baroque décor. The carving and gilding awaken the senses; not even the ceiling veins can be seen as they are covered by rich carved ornamentation. This is due in part to a well-known characteristically Baroque programmatic principle: if the outside of the building corresponds to the body, the inside is the expression of the soul enriched by God's gifts.

View Short Description

A Gothic church, of the “mendicant” type that was commissioned by the order of St. Francis. It was built during the 13th and14th centuries and entirely covered in gilt carving in several stages throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.

How Monument was dated:

Historical Evidence and stylistic analysis

Special features

Retable of the Jesse Tree



Carving: António Gomes [n.d.]; Filipe da Silva (active 1718–?); sculpture: Manuel Carneiro Adão (active 1719–?)

A staging of Christ and the Virgin Mary's genealogy in polychrome wood. On the base, the figure of Jesse from which stems a trunk – Christ's genealogy – with the most ancient ancestors of the Holy Family among whom are King David and King Solomon.

Retable of St. Anthony Chapel



Luis Pereira da Costa

Example of King João V style woodcarving.

Retable of Nossa Senhora do Socorro



Architectectural design: Francisco do Couto e Azevedo [n.d.]; carver: Manuel da Costa Andrade (active 1740–1743)

Example of King João V style.

Retable of Moroccan Saints and Martyrs



Manuel Pereira da Costa Noronha (active 1750–1751)

Example of the late King João V style.

Retable of Nossa Senhora da Soledade



Francisco Pereira Campanhã (active1764–?)

Wood carved retable in the Rocaille style.

Selected bibliography:

Smith, R. C., A talha em Portugal, Lisbon, 1963.
Chicó, M. T., A Arquitectura Gótica em Portugal, Lisbon, 1981.
Borges, N. C., História da Arte em Portugal. Do barroco ao rococó, vol. 9, Lisbon, 1987.
Alves, N. M. F., “De arquitecto a entalhador. Itinerário de um artista nos séculos XVII e XVIII”, Actas do I Congresso Internacional do Barroco, Vol. 1, Porto, 1991, pp. 355–369.
Dias, P., A Arquitectura Gótica Portuguesa, Lisbon, 1994.
Quaresma, M. C. De carvalho, Inventário Artístico de Portugal, Cidade do Porto, Lisbon, 1995.

Citation of this web page:

Paulo Pereira "Church of St. Francis, Oporto" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;BAR;pt;Mon11;23;en

Prepared by: Paulo PereiraPaulo Pereira

SURNAME: Pereira
NAME: Paulo

AFFILIATION Faculty of Architecture, Technical University of Lisbon

TITLE: University Lecturer

Paulo Pereira holds an MA in Cultural Studies and has been a speaker at numerous seminars and congresses in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, the United States and Brazil. Paulo has co-ordinated and published books about Portuguese art and history, some of which are award winning. He is curator of several exhibitions held in Portugal, Ghent, Brussels and Berlin and been a contributing author for several exhibition catalogues. He has exercised managerial roles within the Town Hall of Lisbon, was Vice President of the Portuguese Heritage Institute (IGESPAR) and is a lecturer at the Technical University of Lisbon (Faculty of Architecture).

Translation by: Vanda Meneses , Manuela Alcobia
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: PT 23


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